Shorewood HUGS, a local nonprofit women’s organization, is an organization you should know about!
Started in 2008 by five moms who wanted to give back to the community in which they raised their children, this group has become a strong helping hand within Shorewood and the surrounding communities. Their mission is to make a positive impact in the lives of the people in our community and the surrounding communities, one hug at a time.
So, you may be wondering, what exactly does Shorewood HUGS do? Primarily, Shorewood HUGS hosts unique events to raise money for those less fortunate and to support other area charitable events and groups. The main focus of their fundraising efforts is their Wishes Program.
The Wishes Program started in 2010 and was designed to help those that are less fortunate, disabled or deserving of a wish. Wishes are submitted through their website.
“Children, adults and families ask us for help," said Heidi Serena, president and co-founder of HUGS.
"They are struggling with the economy," Serena said. "Our wishes vary from helping cancer patients, to memorial funds, to healthcare needs, battered women, and educational needs. Our Wishes touch the hearts of people and give them hope of a brighter tomorrow.”
Currently, Shorewood HUGS has about 30 members. These women have a passion for giving back and it’s been noticed! In the last few years, HUGS has received some wonderful awards and support from the community.
In 2012 they received the Tom Cross Ovation to Business Award and A Proclamation from the City of Joliet. In 2011 they were named The Best Non-Profit Organization by the Shorewood Chamber of Commerce. In 2008 they were recognized by the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life as Rookie Team of the Year.
Community support of their mission has been wonderful this year and includes donations from Massage Envy, the Shorewood Rotary Club, TCBY and the Goddard School, as well as JOHA in Joliet. HUGS also received a wonderful gift of a new website from Sullivan IT Solutions!
Upcoming community events include, HUGS Day at Heaps on Sunday from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., and the 2013 Chocolate Ball. HUGS Day at Heaps is a family friendly, free event and will include a children’s costume parade and costume contest, craft and Halloween tattoo tables, and a cakewalk.
HUGS largest fundraiser of the year will take place on February 2. The Fourth Annual Chocolate Ball supports the Wishes program as well as MorningStar Mission’s Wounded Veteran Project.
This event is sponsored by Heartland Bank and Trust and is titled “HUGS Goes Hollywood.” Tickets will be available soon and are $45 in advance or $55 at the door.